Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mixing liquid from the orcs spawning pools with healing potions.

Remember the pool of spawning pig-orc ooze?
-Benjamin B:
Can you carry that stuff in a bottle?  Distilled alchemical essence of pig-orc.  Making it is... gruesome.  But it is ever so useful for the morally flexible wizard on the go. 
But dont mix your orcs spawning bottles with your healing potions.  
-Benjamin B:
Hmmm... or perhaps you'd want to do that.  Mix up a little healing and orc, to make a shapechange cocktail. "It tastes terrible, so I added a shot of dwarven brandy.""Dwarven brandy tastes terrible by itself!""That's why I didn't waste the Elven mead on it.  Drink up buddy." 

Bottles of alchemical essence of pig-orc:
You can fill a bottle with enough essence to maybe spawn a small misshapen pig-orc.
Just throw the bottle like a flask of oil (to check if it break) and roll a d6 to see what you have spawned:
  1. a splash of pig-orc organs and blinking eyes.
  2. a splash of squealing pig snouts that attract monsters like shrieking fungus. 
  3. a d3 orc hands holding oozing orc's weapons that will solidify in a round or two.   
  4. a kobold stated misshapen pig-orc, probably only a head with feet or arms. 
  5. a goblin stated misshapen pig-orc that miss some anatomical features. 
  6. a pig-orc who have -1 on it hp, if it get 0 hp, it die after trashing around a bit.   
  7. a fully grow and armed pig-orc ready for battle.
  8. a fully grown pig-orc and roll a d4 for the left-overs.  
If you use more than one bottle in the same spot, add +1 to the roll for each additional bottles.
(Exp.: If you throw 3 bottles in a corner, roll a d6+2) 

You can dilute the pig-orc essence with ordinary oil to roll a d4 instead of a d6.

Note that you don't control the pig-orcs, if you don't charm them they will probably attack you like any other orcs.

Mixing essence of pig-orc with healing potion!

If you mix 1 dose of orc essence with 1 dose of potion you get 2 doses of healing orc essence.
2 doses of orc esssence with a dose of healing potion give you 3 doses of healing orc essence -1
1 doses of orc essence with 2 doses of healing potion give you 3 doses of healing orc essence +1
The +1 or -1 help or hinder you saving throw when you drink the cocktail.
Adding more doses of essence or of healing potion give you a additional dose and a additional -1 or +1

Drinking pure pig-orc essence: -3 to your saving throw, you don't get the d6 healing effect but you get the regeneration effect and the side effects. On a failed save you get d6 side effects instead of only a d3.

Drinking the mix:
You heal a d6 hp and you regenerate 1 hp by round for 2d6 rounds + your CON bonus.
But you also need to make a saving throw VS poison (or polymorph):
  • On a successful save: you get 1 random pig-orc polymorphing effect that last for 2d6 days.  
  • On a failed save: you get d3 permanent pig-orc polymorphing effects. One effect will trigger each time you get wounded. The good news is that you will also trigger the regeneration effect of the potion each time you trigger a polymorphing effect.
Mixing the nasty stuff with alcoholic beverages:
  • Adding dwarven brandy: add a d10 to the result of the pig-orc polymorphing effect roll
  • Adding elven mead: remove a d10 from the result of the pig-orc polymorphing effect roll. 
  • Adding other interesting alcoholic beverages: before drinking, you choose if this beverage add or remove a d6. (can add up with other drinks)

Pig-Orc Polymorphing Effects (roll 4d10): 
  1. You become a sublime human sow hybrid. +1 CON, +1 CHA, reroll your hit dice for the best. And you can choose one other polymorphing effect between 3 to 20. After this, any new polymorphing side effects will be temporary. 
  2. You become a sublime human sow hybrid. +1 CON, +1 CHA, reroll your hit dice for the best. 
  3. You become pregnant with 2d6 orcs. You will give birth in 2d6 days. You will smell like the great Sow-Orc-Mother for those orcs. If you are male, it ok, you will vomit blood as the ooze will regenerate your organs into the organs needed to give birth and to feed the squealing orklings.  
  4. You vomit a +1 oozing orc shield that will solidify in d6 days. If it take it 6 days to solidify you end up with a magnificent shield ornamented with beautiful heraldry representing sows that give +3AC to defend pig-like creatures and +2AC against orcs and ogres (and their cousins). 
  5. You develop d4 new pair of breasts. If something suck on them for 1 turn, they heal 1hp. If you feed orklings they +1 to their maximum HP. 
  6. d6 orcs spawn from your flesh. You take d2 dmg for each orc that you spawn. 
  7. You turn into a healthy sow in 2d6 painful rounds. (use d8 to reroll your HD). After 2d6 days you learn back how to walk on 2 legs and to hold weapons. 
  8. Healing factor: you regen 1 hp by hour. 
  9. You smell like the great Sow-Orc-Mother. Orcs want to protect you: +2 steps on reaction test results with orcs.
  10. Vomit d6 orc foetus. Each have 1 on a d6 chance to remain alive. They grow fast! They will be able to attack you in 2d6 turns.  
  11. You gain a few extra pounds and get rounder shapes: +1 CON.
  12. You vomit a oozing orc shield that will solidify in d6 rounds. 
  13. Heal a other d6 HP, get cramps and throw up for as many rounds (-2 all actions).
  14. You grow a pig tail and smell sexy: +2 for carousing. 
  15. You grow a soft pig duvet. +1 saving throw against cold.    
  16. Hungry, you need to eat three time more food to sustain yourself. The good new is that you can now eat nearly anything. 
  17. Vomit black ooze, roll a d6 on the table for throwing bottles of pig-orc essence. 
  18. Vomit d6 doses of black ooze that ca be bottled, take 1 damage for each dose you vomit.
  19. Regen for a extra d6 rounds. 
  20. Orcs like your smell: add a bonus point to your reaction test with them. 
  21. Heal a extra d6 hp instead of regenerating.  
  22. You tend to squeal a lot and you can now speak orc. 
  23. Your eyes transform into orc’s eyes and your gain infravision. Sometime you see weird orcish things. 
  24. You can’t stop squealing for 2d6 rounds and attract monsters.
  25. While you regenerate, your flesh bubble with pig snouts and eyes: -2 for all actions. 
  26. You grow a pig snout and pig ears: -1 CHA, you can easily sniff out food. 
  27. It hard to think, your mind become duller: -1 INT
  28. You become selfish and coward: -1 WIS
  29. Your arms turn into strong pig like arms: +1 STR -2 DEX 
  30. You grow boar teeth & defenses. (gain a tusk attack) 
  31. You grow a additional orc’s arm. 
  32. You vomit a set of orc armor that will solidify in d6 rounds.
  33. You vomit d6 oozing orcs weapons that will solidify in d3 rounds. 
  34. You smell stronger and grow one size bigger: gain a orc hit dice. It harder to surprise monsters with a good sense of smell. 
  35. You get overall very hairy and stronger: gain +1 STR
  36. You get hungry for orc flesh. If you feast on a orc for a whole turn, roll it HD to heal you.
  37. You can smell orcs like a bloodhound, this get you bloodthirsty: +1 to hit & damage & surprise rolls against them. -2 step to reaction test result when dealing with them. 
  38. You feel the rage taking over you: you enter into frenzy for 3d6 rounds. (+1 step of STR, fight in negative hp and make WIS test at -2 to avoid attacking your friends). 
  39. You smell like the great Hog-Orc-Father. Orcs will fear you. +2 step to reaction test result to intimidate orcs. 
  40. You become chaotic. If you are already chaotic, you turn mad and think that you are a orc. 
  41. Each time you are wounded for at least 2 damage in a fight, your blood have 1 on a d6 chance of acting like a bottle of pig-orc essence. 
  42. When you die, your body spawn a d6 combat ready orcs. 
  43. You turn into a wild board in 2d6 painful rounds. (use d8 to reroll your HD).  After 2d6 days you learn back how to walk on 2 legs and to hold weapons. 
  44. Like a satire, your lower half turn into the lower half of a wild boar. You get horny and run faster. You will sire half-orcs.
  45. You grow a pig head with large boar’s defenses and can only speak orc: +1 tusk attack, +1 hp, -2 CHA.
  46. You vomit a +1 oozing orc weapon that will solidify in d6 days. If it take it 6 days to solidify you end up with a pig headed mace that give +2 while allied with orcs or to fight against them.    
  47. You turn into a half-orc. 
  48. You turn into a burly orc. Reroll your hp for the better. 
  49. You become a mighty were-boar. Getting wounded and receiving magic healing trigger the change. 
  50. You become a mighty were-boar. Getting wounded and receiving magic healing trigger the change.  And you can choose one other polymorphing effect between 21 to 48. After this, any new polymorphing side effects will be temporary.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Setup: the Attack on Titans (monsters apocalypse) formula.

The manga/anime Attack on Titans take on the monsters (zombie) apocalypse is really interesting, those grotesques giant humanoids are so unsettling and intriguing.  

Let try to apply the Attack on Titans formula to other monsters to setup a monsters apocalypse setting.

1) Choose a monster from the monster manual.

I think that any monsters can work. For exemple, let choose the Manticore to create a Manticore-Apocalypse. It is a unusual choice, but I like the fact that this monster have a human male face, there is a creepy factor to exploit here. 

2) Broaden some traits of the monster while keeping at least one trait that define them. 

For example in Attack on Titans, titans are humanoids of different size. You have the "small" 5m class, the big 15m and the 60m gigantic class titans. 

So to broaden the traits of the manticores, let say that they can be any beasts, not just lions. They all have human heads. And as time pass, they start mixing animal together and become hybrids (like the basic manticore). So they are hybrid animal with human male heads. I keep the fact that they have a human male head. 

3) They were people or look like people. 

One of the main freaking thing about zombies and titans is that they remember us of people. Zombie were people and many clues hint that titans were also people. People turning into monster is a classic and effective trope. But the monster don't need to be human that turn into monster, it can be the other way around with monsters that mimic or gain human traits. 

For the manticores, let say that is started with weird rabid animal attacks. Animals get mad and attack humans. Those who eat humans end up with the face of their victims. The human faced animals also eat other animals and mutate, gaining random animal traits (or maybe they gain new animal traits when wounded). Most of them have some sort of poisonous darts or quills. Even animals who get mad and attack humans are developing poisonous attacks. Being hunted by a pack of mutating dog-scorpions who wear your brother face is unnerving. 

4) Give the monsters a trait that make them unstoppable but also give them at least one weakness.

Zombie are already dead and can only be slowed down but you can kill them with a bullet in the brain. The Titans can regenerate super fast but you can kill them by cutting the back of their neck. Their strength and weakness should inspire interesting tactic to hunt them. 

So maybe the manticores are unstoppable raging berserkers that need to be hacked down to pieces. Or maybe they regenerate and grow new animal limbs when you wound them and the more you wound them, the more they grow bigger. The only way to kill them is to cut of their human head. Also maybe they are vulnerable to the venom of other manticores. 

5) Give the monsters some behaviors rules.

In The Walking Dead, zombies are attracted by noises and can group in herds. Give your monsters some behaviors that the players can discover and maybe exploit. 

So manticore have human male head. Maybe they can sense human males and hunt them to eat their face. Maybe they just kill human female but they stop attacking to eat human males. Or maybe they have different weird reactions toward males and females. Like they could hesitate to attack when they face females, but still get mad and aggressive once attacked. Maybe sometime they painfully try to communicate when they are alone with a females (but always fail). Also maybe their venomous quills and darts have different effect on males and females. They don't turn males into maticores but they turn them into raging berserkers. If manticore can sense human males, maybe males can also sense them. 

6) The monsters are unable to communicate. 

Maybe they are mute, dumb, feral, or overcome by emotions.It important at the beginning that the characters are unable to communicate and to understand the monsters. In the manga witnessing titans that show sign of intelligence or feelings is a very intriguing plot point. In zombie fiction it always strange to see zombies showing sign of remembering things. So at first present the monsters as unintelligent but later let them show some signs of intelligence, memory or of communication capacity.  

7) The monsters predate humans and menace towns and even civilization. 

Zombies and Titans feed on humans but your monsters can also predate humans for other reasons. Maybe to reproduce or to satisfy some urge or because of some overwhelming distressing emotions or impulse. Maybe it because their perception is twisted and everything they perceive is wrong or is aggressive to them. 

Also the monster menace is hitting hard on civilization. Human are surviving, but they are on the defensive and things are looking grim for them. The monster apocalypse have hard consequences and is reshaping human society. 

For the manticores apocalypse, few human remains and human males are getting very rare. Animals have become a compromised "technology" and can't be trusted or used safely. 

8) Let the monsters changes and evolve. 

As the campaign progress, let the monsters evolve (or devolve), give them new traits that force the players to develop new tactics to fight them. Give them new behaviors to make them more unpredictable, to surprise the players and to make the monsters more intriguing. 

For example, maybe the manticore start having different reactions to the manticore's venom. Maybe some of them start targeting human females or some of them start ignoring some human males or start avoiding some locations or get attracted by something. Maybe they start hoarding stuff or to reproduce by spawning new heads or maybe they start breeding.

9) There is rumors about unique specimens. 

This is optional, but in Attack on Titans, the unpredictable appearance of unique titans is a major plot point of the story. So maybe it could be interesting to create some unique individual specimen to use them as plot devices and major events. Their appearance should not be trivial. 

Maybe there is rumor about a female manticore or of one that talk and who is becoming a manticore leader (or is being worshiped by some humans).   

A other trope in Attack on Titans is the monsters infiltrating the human society (like the cylons in the robots-apocalypse, Galactica). For manticore-apocalypse, we can have human cannibals that are in fact manticores who can infiltrate human settlements. They have hidden poisonous quills and can regen. But they most avoid getting wounded because their wounds risk of growing animal limbs. 

10) Humans have organised themselves to survive. 

Human have developed tactics and adapted their society to survive. Like in Attack on Titans you can create special tactics and equipment that the humans use to hunt the monsters. Maybe you can create some character classes that fit some special roles. Human society is also changing, maybe they live in special settlements and have new social classes, roles and occupations. 

For the manticore apocalypse. There is maybe a special class of venom collectors or of manticore trackers. Gender roles have probably changed. Some class of people are maybe doing the work of animals. Or maybe that animals only go mad when they are close to different species (to go with the hybrids theme). Like if you have a horse your are ok, but if you have a horse and a dog, they will go mad, get venomous and attack you. So you have classes of people who keep different animals and who most never meet each others.  

The GM can award XP for: 
  • Surviving encounters with hordes or waves of monsters.
  • Killing monsters (minor rewards) and destroying monsters lairs.
  • Rescuing humans or retrieving something important in monster territory.
  • Protecting human settlements and expending the human defenses and territory.
  • Discovering new things about the monsters or new means to fight them.